Travis Hair, the managing editor of Five For Howling, has lived
through the frustration of being a Phoenix Coyotes fan. He’s been a
devout fan through it all, and I know just how much he suffered through
all the troubles last summer. He seemingly took it personally, as his
team was fought over in court and nearly every pundit wrote how the team
should ultimately be moved.
Amid all this uncertainty was a
team that was in desperate need of
guidance, and a fan base that felt abandoned. The team had been mediocre
for too long in an environment where hockey can certainly struggle, and
when the issues surrounding the ownership of the franchise erupted the
fans were left out in the cold.
Now, after the first playoff
hockey game in Arizona since 2002, everything has turned completely
around. The Coyotes are the feel good story of the season, the fans are
back in rabid fashion and the Throw The Snake campaign has put Travis
and Five For Howling on the map. As the Coyotes get more and more
attention, so has Travis and his great blog.
Pro Hockey Talk was
able to chat with Travis about this past season, the great hockey game
in Glendale last night, and his experiences since become famous in the
As the hockey world embraces the Coyotes, Travis
says he’s not that surprised.
“Who doesn’t root for the CInderella
or the underdog?” Those are the best of
sports stories,” Travis tells Pro Hockey Talk. “Who doesn’t hate the
Wings that isn’t a WIngs fan?”
bigger surprise is the support from teams in the playoffs. Hawks fans,
fans, Preds too. They’re cheering for us too.”
The Coyotes won a
big game against the Red Wings last night, as raucous fans turned a
hockey arena in Arizona into one of the most electrifying atmospheres in
all of hockey. Travis says that atmosphere was building outside the
arena before the game ever started.
“There were wranglers with white
coyotes on harnesses
walking around out front. Just cool.
There were tons of painted up fans, fans wearing capes, fans cheering
before they ever got in. People were mostly in their seats early because
didn’t want to miss a moment.”
It was certainly a bit unexpected,
even with the hype the team had started to get leading into the
playoffs. Travis, however, says that this has been building for most of
the season. As far as the team goes, he says he knew they might be onto
something special well before then.
“I’d be lying if I said I knew
it was going to be this
special,” he says. “But the first clue I had was early in the year when
we went to
Pittsburgh and shutout the Penguins. It’s just one game, but anytime you
something like that to the defending champs it gives you confidence in
What’s been truly special to witness is how a simple joke
on Twitter turned into an all-out campaign for solidarity among Coyotes
fans. The Throw The Snake movement has been embraced all around hockey,
and has put Travis and his blog on the map.
Travis says that
while there were “10 to 12” snakes that ended up on the ice, the arena
officials didn’t seem all that concerned with stopping it.
my friends was wearing a “Throw the snake” shirt [availiable on Five
howling] and the security people were like ‘What’s that mean?’ He had to
“Heck, some people got some octopi into the arena.”
the Throw The Snake movement gained traction, Travis has been sought out
by the media to provide his thoughts on the Coyotes, the fans and
hockey. He’s talked to Yahoo!’s Puck Daddy blog, appeared on local
radio, and had his blog mentioned on Hockey Night in Canada as well as
on iDesk on the CBC.
It’s some surprising instant fame for Travis, who considers
himself just a simple blogger. It’s all been a bit unexpected.
I run a blog on one of the biggest and well run networks around, I’m
“I don’t even know where to
go from here. I’m just a hockey fan and had this random Throw The Snake
team take off. I’m excicited about where this goes and also just stunned
If there’s one blogger and one website that
deserve the attention, it’s Travis and Five For Howling. He’s toiled
through some tough times and now it’s paying off as his site sky
The team has been pushing their “Whiteout 2010” campaign,
and Five For Howling has followed suit. It’s something that has
certainly worked for this team and these fans.
was high-fiving everyone. It was just
but it was electric.”
You can follow Travis on Twitter at twitter.com/TravisHair.